Novel elastic response in twist-bend nematic models
Bent-shaped liquid crystals have attracted significant attention recently due to their novel mesostructure and the intriguing behavior of their elastic constants, which are strongly anisotropic and have an unusual temperature dependence. Though theories explain the onset of the twist-bend nematic phase (NTB) through spontaneous symmetry breaking concomitant with transition to a negative bend (K3) elastic constant, this has not been observed as yet in experiments. There, the small bend elastic constant has a strongly non-monotonic temperature dependence, which first increases after crossing the isotropic (I)–nematic (N) transition, then dips near the nematic (N)-twist-bend (NTB) transition before it increases again as the transition is crossed. The molecular mechanisms responsible for this exotic behavior are unclear. Here, we utilize density of states algorithms in Monte Carlo simulation applied to a variant of the Lebwohl–Lasher model which includes bent-shaped-like interactions to analyze the mechanism behind elastic response in this novel mesostructure and understand the temperature dependence of its Frank–Oseen elastic constants.